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American woman afraid to tell boss she can’t come to work because she is in labour

A woman has gone viral on TikTok after sharing a video of herself, in labour, anxiously drafting a text to her manager to let them know she won’t be coming to work.

The video, which has been viewed more than five million times, shows a woman named Marissa Peirce lying in a hospital bed typing out the text and reading it out loud.

“Hey Jill, I’m in labour. I just got admitted to the hospital,” she can be heard saying.

“Would it be okay if my mum or brother picked up my pay cheque tomorrow?”

She then looks over at the person recording to ask if the text is “okay”, to which they reply: “Perfect”.

“Me literally in labour overthinking the text I’m sending to my manager to call out,” Peirce, wrote in the caption.

Peirce’s situation has prompted criticisms of the US maternity leave policy, with dozens of users sharing their own experiences in the comments.

“I relate! I was induced six weeks early and was so nervous to tell work. I hate calling in but the doctor said it was a medical emergency,” one woman said.

Another woman said she had to ask permission to leave work early because she was in labour. “‘Is it okay if I go home early, I think I might be in labour’. She was born five hours later,” the comment said.

“My job called me while I was in the hospital after delivering my stillborn son (they knew this) to ask when I was coming back,” a third woman said.

Under US law, there is no obligation for employers to give their workers paid maternity leave.

According to a UNICEF report from 2019 which looked at family leave policies across the world’s richest countries, the US is the only one with no national paid leave policy for mothers or fathers.

Under the US Family and Medical Leave Act, employers with 50 or more workers must allow mothers to take up to 12 weeks off. The decision of whether to provide pay lies with the company.

Of the countries on UNICEF’s list, Estonia had the best maternity leave policy, giving new mothers 85 weeks leave.

Here in the UK, pregnant women are entitled to a year of maternity leave.

The first 26 weeks is known as “ordinary maternity leave”, while the last 26 weeks are “additional maternity leave.”

Of this, employers must give mothers 39 weeks of statutory maternity pay.

The first six weeks of this is must meet the threshold of 90 per cent of the employees average weekly earnings (AWE). The remaining 33 weeks are either £151.97 or 90 per cent of AWE, whichever is lower.

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